Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fair enough?

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Tomorrow is the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight - a celebration of the Fairtrade movement. Since the first Fairtrade bananas went on sale in the UK 11 years ago, there are now 200 products available that bear the movement's kitemark. More than a million developing world producers are now signed up to the scheme, which ensures that local farmers are paid above market prices and workers involved in production are paid minimum wages.

More than 5,000,000 people - farmers, workers and their families - in 58 different countries benefit.

There are critics of the scheme who claim, among other things, that farmers should diversify rather than rely on subsidised prices. There are also concerns that Nestle - one of the most boycotted companies in the world by ethical comsumers - has launched a Fairtrade certified coffee. Action Aid is also concerned that Fairtrade doesn't address the fundamental injustices in world trade systems.

However, Ian Bretman, director of the Fairtrade Foundation, says:
'It's too cynical to say that because you can't help everyone you shouldn't help anyone. The system is changing - partly because Fairtrade has encouraged many people to become more engaged with the need to reform.'

So - how much do you care about who benefits from that coffee you're drinking right now?

For further info check out Ethical Consumer.

6 comments:

Atyllah said...

Drink coffee? Urgh.

It's baby steps, isn't it, to try to make some attempt to change a world that is so focussed on profit and lowest cost production.

Steerforth said...

Nestle's small-scale act of genocide when they campaigned to encourage women in Africa to swap breast feeding for Nestle formula milk is one of the worst corporate crimes in history. If Nestle were a country, we would (or should) have declared war on them.

Saaleha said...

Actually I think any initiative that improves some lives should be supported. We have't such a movement here, but if we did, I'd definitely support it.

Debi said...

Aty - you mean you survive without coffee? Respect ... I bet you don't smoke either ...

Steerforth - agreed 100% - except I'm not sure I'd describe their actions as 'small-scale'.

Saaleha - absolutely!

Minx said...

It does not take much more energy to shop with a concience and I have noticed of late that more supermarkets are following suit. As variety grows, more people will think about the fair trade, sustainable and organic aspects of what lines our shelves,

Marie said...

Thanks for the link, Debi. I bought some Fairtrade plain chocolate from Waitrose just the other week. I've also bought some Fairtrade bananas from there.